Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Shut up to all that

Mark Dery is one of the smartest if not the only smart person writing on the internet, and every time I read something of his, I'm reminded of how stupid I am, which rather than depressing me, makes me want to do better.

His latest missive on True/Slant is "Have We No Sense of Decency, Sir, at Long Last?: On Adult Diapers, Erectile Dysfunction, and Other Joys of Oversharing," which could alternately be titled, "Shut Up Already, Jeff Jarvis, About the Garden Hose Coming out of Your Dick."

It's not to be missed.
Isn’t that the motivation for much of what we call oversharing, online? Ours is the age of nanocelebrity: broadcasts created by us and, too often, for us and us alone. How many YouTube videos and blog posts and Flickr sets languish, their discussion threads registering a melancholy zero comments, their feature attractions playing to a spellbound audience of one? We’re all Norma Desmond, ready for our close-up. In the age of reality TV and Paris Hilton, American Idol and YouTube (which has the power, if your video goes viral, to turn you into a global celebrity, even if you’re just some guitar geek shredding Pachelbel’s Canon), we see fame as our Warholian birthright. In his book, Fame Junkies: The Hidden Truths Behind America’s Favorite Addiction, Jake Halpern notes that 30% of American teenagers believe they’re destined to be famous. The middle-school students he surveyed seemed to see becoming famous as a goal unto itself, rather than a by-product of doing something that merited renown.